Dire predictions that legal adult use of marijuana will set the stage for “Big Tobacco 2.0” to hoodwink us and poison our children simply do not stand up to the weight of scientific evidence or practical policy considerations. While the economic allure of entering a newly-minted legal industry has tobacco companies taking notice, continuing to craft public marijuana policy around alarmist spin and false analogies is a recipe for continued failure.
In the near term, the ongoing federal prohibition of marijuana will continue to stymie large, risk-averse corporations from monopolizing the market, in the same way that individual cannabis companies have no avenue to pursue multi-state monopolies thanks to the federal ban on cultivation, possession and transport of the plant.
Federal prohibition will eventually crumble, but by the time it does, many states will have legal frameworks in place that emphasize local control, safe production standards and public-health-conscious regulation of advertising and sales.
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